BOBBY MAGILL

Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer for Climate Central in New York and a journalist who has covered fracking and the environment in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. 

My latest in Popular Mechanics: Is Tar Sands Development Coming to Utah?

U.S. Tar Sands? Canadian Company Seeks to Drill in Utah

Extracting oil sands, or tar sands, is big business in Canada. But there are a few deposits here in the Western U.S. too, and now the Canadian experts are looking to get at them.

The United States’ largest source of oil imports is not the Middle East, but rather Canada: The Athabasca oil sands underlying a huge swath of northern Alberta, containing perhaps 175 billion barrels of oil, have been a steady—and controversial—source of liquid fuel. Extracting it is a dirty business, and a recent plan to escalate development by building a pipeline through the Midwest inspired thousands of people to throng the White House. But while Canada is home to most of the world’s oil sands, the United States can claim an area rich in oil sands, too. A small Calgary-based company, U.S. Oil Sands,, wants to extract the oil from sands found in Eastern Utah.

Read more: U.S. Tar Sands? Canadian Company Seeks to Drill in Utah - Popular Mechanics